Both Hariss Harun and Safuwan Baharudin have reportedly agreed a move to the Malaysia Super League for the 2014 season, with the LionsXII vice-captain set for a lucrative transfer to Johor Darul Takzim and Safuwan heading to T-Team.
However Goal can exclusively reveal that both young players had been in the sights of J-League clubs for most of the 2013 season, with contact made from at least one club.
Both Safuwan and Hariss were most recently in the sights of J-League side Ventforet Kofu, who eventually settled on Indonesian starlet Andik Vermanshay who is currently on trial with the club and made a goalscoring debut in a reserve team fixture.
Ventforet had made Hariss their first choice target after closely following the midfielder's LionsXII campaign this year, but with a move to Johor already made known public, Safuwan had been eyed as a back-up.
It is believed that the 22-year-old centreback's likely move to T-Team, which had been confirmed by the club's officials in some media reports, had hindered the potential move to Japan.
The J-League has recently made a series of high-profile Southeast Asian signings, including Vietnam's Le Cong Vinh who plays for Consadole Sapporo, while Malaysia's Wan Zack Haikal plies his trade in the amateur Japanese Football League with FC Ryuku.